2019 APME awards honor AP journalists for powerful stories

NEW YORK (AP) — Accounts of perseverance in the wake of disaster, deep investigative looks into cyber threats against American democracy, and images that highlighted the human side of controversial political issues are among the stories that have won the 2019 Associated Press Media Editors Awards for AP staff.

Dake Kang and Yanan Wang, both 25, were honored for excellence by staffers 30 years old or younger for work exposing the Chinese government's reach into their citizens' personal lives. Judges called their work "insightful — even shocking."

Sharon Cohen, David Goldman and Mary Hudetz were recognized for stories about Native American women and children who disappeared or were killed on tribal lands. The judges called it "great writing, important topic, and remarking reporting that resonated not just in Indian Country, but across the country."

Christina Cassidy and Frank Bajak won for their investigative look at the vulnerable American voting system that judges called "aggressive watchdog journalism at a high level."

The AP's "mission is to inform the world — fairly, objectively and accurately," said Thomas Koetting, deputy managing editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and coordinator of the contest. "The work in this year's competition reflects that mission — and I would add two words: compassion and humanity. In a complex and sometimes inhumane world, AP journalists reached out to those who needed a voice and told stories that otherwise would have remained hidden."

The annual competition honors the best work by AP staff in news, multimedia and photography and is open to employees in every U.S. state and 100 countries globally.

The judges are national board members of the Associated Press Media Editors, which is in the process of merging with the American Society of News Editors into the News Leaders Association.

Winners will be recognized at that organization's national conference in New Orleans on Sept. 9-10.

The winners are:

DEADLINE REPORTING

Winner: South Region Staff, "Hurricane Michael"

Honorable mention: California Staff, "California Wildfire"

SAMUEL G. BLACKMAN AWARD FOR ENTERPRISE REPORTING

Winner: Lori Hinnant, Bram Janssen and other staff, "The Missing"

Honorable Mention: Staff including Rodrigo Abd, Michael Biesecker, Rebecca Blackwell, Allen G. Breed, Garance Burke, Martha Mendoza, Nomaan Merchant, Matt Sedensky and Julie Watson, "Torn Apart: Immigration in the Era of Trump"

FEATURE WRITING, SINGLE STORY OR SERIES

Winner: Sharon Cohen, David Goldman and Mary Hudetz, "Death and Disappearance in Indian Country"

Honorable Mention: Sharon Cohen and David Goldman, "Women Behind Bars"

STATE NEWS REPORTING

Winner: Christina Cassidy and Frank Bajak, "Election Security"

Honorable Mention: Julie Carr Smyth, Kantele Franko and Ohio Staff, "Online Charter School Investigation"

JOHN WINN AND MARGO C. MILLER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE BY A STAFFER 30 YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER

Winners: Dake Kang and Yanan Wang, "China"

Honorable Mention: Krysta Fauria, "Los Angeles Bureau Video Coverage"

GLOBAL SPORTS ACCOUNTABILITY

Winner: Ohio Staff, for its reporting on Ohio State team doctor Richard Strauss

USE OF VIDEO

Winner: Mstyslav Chernov, "Ukrainian Youth Camp"

Honorable mention: Bram Janssen, "Sahara Missing"

DIGITAL STORYTELLING

Winner: Nat Castañeda, Bram Janssen and Lori Hinnant, "The Missing"

Honorable mention: Khaled Kazziha and video team in Zimbabwe, "Livestream of Zimbabwe's Deadly Post-Election Violence"

NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY - SINGLE SHOT

Winner: Rebecca Blackwell, "Crossing Under"

Honorable mention: Andrew Harnik, "The Clap"

NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY - STORY OR SERIES

Winner: Khalil Hamra, Adel Hana, Ariel Schalit, Felipe Dana, Oded Balilty, "Gaza on the Edge"

Honorable mention: Rodrigo Abd, "A Caravan" and Dar Yasin, "Kashmir Conflict"

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - SINGLE SHOT

Winner: Ben Curtis, "Scavenger"

Honorable mention: Rodrigo Abd, "Exhausted" and Altaf Qadri, "Lifting Her Veil"

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - STORY OR SERIES

Winner: Rodrigo Abd, "Dangerous Dives"

Honorable mention: Bernat Armangue, "Running of the Wine Horses" and Altaf Qadri, "India: Looking for Hope"